After nearly a decade-long hiatus marred by burnout, a painful divorce and physical problems that affected her ability to sing, country superstar Shania Twain said she's finding her groove as a Las Vegas headliner.
On Monday, Twain announced 22 new show dates this fall for Shania: Still the One, a spectacle at a 4,300-seat Caesars Palace concert hall that includes two trained horses, a live band, and the 47-year-old Canadian beauty clad in sparkling bodysuits and thigh-high boots. She's also staging a run of 12 shows starting May 14.
"I couldn't be any happier," Twain told The Associated Press in a phone call from the Bahamas, where she lives between shows. "It turned out so beautifully and I'm so proud of it."
Twain made her debut in December at the Colosseum, home to fellow Canadian songstress Céline Dion, shortly after parading down the Las Vegas Strip on horseback. But perhaps more significant than her regal grand entrance amid a herd of 40 horses was that the five-time Grammy winner returned to performing at all.
Questioned returning to the stage
Since releasing the 1997 album Come on Over, which became the bestselling country album of all time, her life hit a feverish pace of road shows and promotions that continued even after the birth of her son in 2001.
After her Up! tour wrapped in 2004, it was unclear whether the new mom would ever be back.
"I had moments when I thought I never would, and I would've been OK with that," she said. "I love music and I'd never want to give up music, but did I ever want to put a production together and be on stage again?"
The singer known for Any Man of Mine and That Don't Impress Me struggled with muscular tension that made singing more difficult. And in 2008, she was thrust into an unwelcome spotlight by an alleged affair between her then-husband and producer, Robert "Mutt" Lange, and one of her best friends.
Since then, she married that friend's ex-husband, Frederic Thiebaud. They've found some sense of normalcy; Thiebaud coaches Twain's son in soccer, and she said the 11-year-old is a happy child.
'A new groove'
"You're never comfortable with what happened," she said of the failed marriage. But "you get to a stage where everything's just different now, you're now in a new groove, you're going in a new direction."
Though she said she was initially nervous about how the comeback residency would be received, it's sold out for each of its first 24 performances.
Free from the rigours of tour travel, the residency is "a dream performance scenario" that allows her to balance her roles as a mother and as a country superstar.
"Vegas is just a really good setup," she said. "It completely leaves me room to be the parent I want to be."
She said she's written enough songs to fill an album, but isn't ready to return to the studio just yet. Conceiving the elaborate show, with its backup dancers, pumped-in fragrances, and flying motorcycle, has taken up her creative juices for now.
"I'm doing one project at a time. I'll let the Vegas show settle in," Twain said. "I'm not in the spirit of juggling too many balls in the air at one time."
Tickets for shows between mid-October and mid-December go on sale Friday.